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4th International Annual Workshop on Digital Forensics & Incident Analysis (WDFIA 2009)
Title: Data Hiding in the SWF Format and Spreading through
Social Network Services
Author(s): Alexandros Zaharis, Adamantini Martini, Christos Ilioudis
Keywords: SWF format, Data Hiding, Social Network Services, Computer Forensics
Abstract: This paper presents a unique way of hiding information inside the SWF Adobe® Flash®
Format. SWF has become popular because of its interaction with the end user along with its
captive graphics. Furthermore it is massively used by social networks for entertainment
reasons (flash games, presentations), as it is easily embedded in web pages. Adobe ® Flash ®
Player is used by over 2 million professionals and reaching 99.0% of Internet-enabled
desktops. The fact that SWF is so popular and can be found in large scale around the Internet,
along with the fact that most SWF applications developed look innocent, make the SWF
format a great carrier medium for hidden information to be spread without raising any
questions. For the first time, a method consisting of different hiding techniques is presented in
order to fully illustrate the potentials of hiding data in the SWF format and spreading them
through social network services. This technique can be utilized in order to understand the
danger of not thoroughly examining SWF format in a forensics investigation, while allowing
the development of a sufficient detection method of possible illegal activity, like child
pornography, through Social Networks.
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